By Diane Caudullo
When asked, most would express their admiration for their own mom. I am no different.
Forty-five years after kindergarten, my answers are still the same. My mom, Patricia, is the best person in the world. I love her this much — insert crayon drawing of stick-figure me with my arms stretched out wide. A large red heart placed properly on my mini-me’s chest. Now in my fifties, and with young adult children of my own, my admiration continues to grow even deeper for my mom, an appreciation which seems to regularly confuse my mother as to why I feel this way about her.
My mother, now 78, simply has no idea of how smart and how strong she is and always has been. She comments more often than she should, how she believes she didn’t really teach us much, my brother and sister and me. I couldn’t disagree more.
My mother’s life has been a series of struggles, big and small; disappointments of similar, varying degrees; and so many accomplishments and successes that surprisingly look like everyday life. What she does not seem to appreciate is, she has been and still is a living lesson, a constant example of how to live this life right.
I watched as she cared for everyone in addition to her own. Her sacrifices were endless and seemingly without much reciprocation. If you were down, she was there. If she was down, she was down alone. I guess in all fairness, she never asked, she never let on. In some of her darkest days, she made decisions that were right for her family but wrong for her. I watched as she forgave those who wronged her, really wronged her. And she really forgave. She has taught quietly, by example, over a lifetime.
Other life lessons learned were that hard work and smart planning got you where you wanted to be; patience really is a virtue; slow and steady wins the race, but more importantly, there wasn’t really a race to win; and our treatment of others was your most important trait.
Mom was also the epitome of a “perfect housewife.” She ran the household like a boss. Dinner was on the table each night; the bills were paid, the house was clean and laundry and homework were done. And she did it all with love. It was her pleasure.
Full disclosure, I did not inherit her homemaking skills. Maybe it’s one of those genes that skips a generation. Let’s just say my talents lie elsewhere. But she watched as I raised my children to become loving and caring young adults. She sees me care for my family, immediate and extended, especially when problems arise. I volunteer in my community. I feel called to lift others up and make a positive impact in the world around me.
Nowadays, my mother looks at me in awe of my strengths and gifts. Funny how she doesn’t see the resemblance.
Diane Caudullo is the president of the Centereach Civic Association and a board member of the Middle Country Chamber of Commerce.